Update: Iowa farmers helping nearby states - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Update: Iowa farmers helping nearby states

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A group of Black Hawk County-area farmers are driving hundreds of miles in the wake of wildfires that scorched millions of acres of farm land.

Oklahoma farmers have been dealing with the devastation from the beginning of the month, and so far, six people are dead because of it.

'Iowa nice' truly knows no boundaries, and there's no better way to show it than the farmers driving across the state to drop off hay to total strangers.

We checked with drivers by phone while stopping along the way, and they say they're happy to help, but they aren't sure what to expect once they get there.

Hudson-area driver, Russell Seekins, said after seeing the wildfire aftermath in Oklahoma on the news, he felt obligated to help.

"I've had butterflies in my stomach, and I can't imagine what it's going to feel like once we get out there and see the devastation of the millions of acres burned, and the hundreds of thousands of cattle that are dead, and that these farmers have had to kill to put out of their misery," Seekins said.

Pictured in the photo, you can see Cory Taylor, Russell Seekins, Cordt Holub, and Rodger Reiter.

David Crees is also traveling with the crew, along with David's nephew, Adam.

Area farmers donated resources including hay, fuel, and the use of their trucks; and they headed for Oklahoma.

They loaded 165 square bales and 12 round bales, and they were modest about offering help along the way.

"We're just a drop in the bucket, and we're going to do whatever we can to help. They need every last bit of help they can get at this point. These farmers have worked their whole life to build up they have, and they watched it burn in 90 seconds. We've got a home to go to, and they don't have anything to go to. Right now, they're not worried about the homes they lost. They're worried about the livestock they lost," Seekins said.

Russell said even though they're miles away from wildfire-affected areas like Oklahoma and Colorado, there's still a connection here in the Hawkeye state, and Iowa farmers are more than happy to help.

"Whether we know them or not, they're our neighbors. It takes a whole effort to make the world run. Anything like this could happen to us in the drop of a hat. For us to have what we have still, and for them to have lost what they lost, the emotions are just unspeakable," Seekins said.

Russell said they left Waterloo around 7:00 a.m. Thursday, and they plan to reach their destination in Oklahoma around 7:00 p.m.

After they drop everything off, they'll travel right back.

A Grundy Center group is also organizing a fundraiser to help wildfire relief.

It will be held Saturday April, 15 at the Grundy Center Community Center.

They're hosting dinner and drinks, and tickets start at $25.

For more information, you can contact Allyson at 319-215-5309.


A group of Black Hawk County-area farmers are on their way to Oklahoma to help fellow farmers and ranchers, affected by recent fires and drought.

Russell Seekins of the Hudson area says five drivers left Waterloo around 7:00 a.m. Thursday, and they're hauling five loads of hay.

Seekins says they have 165 big square bales and 12 round bales loaded, and they expect to reach Buffalo, Oklahoma by 7:00 p.m.

Seekins says, "we're helping out, because that's just the American way, and something like this could happen to us (in Iowa) just as easy. We just get sick to our stomachs when we hear about the livestock killed and the property affected by all the devastation."

Several farmers in the Black Hawk County area donated hay and materials to make this possible.

According farmers in the Grundy County area, they're organizing a benefit April 15 to raise money for fencing supplies for farmers affected by fires in nearby states.

We will continue to update this story with more information throughout the day.

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